The “Smart Phone” and My Day

Jun 3, 2006 in Tech

I suffer from gadget envy. I do, really. It started early on, when a friend and I would disassemble tape recorders to see how they worked (I still have no idea). More recently in my life, I’ve found blogs such as Gizmodo and Engadget, both of which fill my ever present desire to accumulate more electronics, necessary or not.

Earlier this year, following my Dad’s footsteps, I purchased a Treo 650. Big time gadget.

When purchasing a gadget of this kind, that carries a hefty price tag, it’s important to make sure that your significant other understands the reasoning behind it. You must sell it’s many uses, and you must paint a picture of a very dire and likely future without said gadget. I sold it well, and I even believed the hype myself.

Fast forward to now. I am a geek yes, but also a freelancer. As a freelancer I am always looking to make my work load easier to manage, and to make my stuff more available. The Treo was going to help with this, since I can now sync my calendar, to-do’s, memo’s, files, music, podcasts and what not with the phone, making all that available all the time. That is, if you remember to sync. Or if you’ve got enough room on the SD card. Then there’s all the problems with syncing on a Mac. Calendars don’t come across right, contacts don’t have their groups anymore, and more. It becomes as more work, even though the phone is supposed to help reduce it all.

One thing I did when buying the Treo, was to switch to T-Mobile. I was able to get us a great phone plan, as well as unlimited internet for the Treo, all at a pretty affordable price. Considerably more affordable than any of the other carriers out here. So now I’ve got solid Internet at my desk, as well as just about anywhere I go. So how do I make that into something I can actually use?

So far, Gmail and Backpack are two ways I’ve simplified my life. Gmail now offers a mobile version of your Gmail account, and it’s just great. It allows me quick access to my email, with a lot of the features that the full-fledged version I get at my desk does. Mobile Gmail gives me keyboard shortcuts, which is a god-send on a small device. There’s a lot more about mobile Gmail I plan on writing about, but for now let’s just say I am a veryhappy user.

The second was Backpack.  

I’ve been using a free plan ever since they launched, only recently upgrading to a paid plan. Backpack is another site that has a mobile interface, allowing quick and easy access on the phone. I now keep Backpack pages setup for all aspects of my projects. When an email comes in that I need to track, I can forward it with it’s attachment to that projects Backpack page. With all of my project info accessible from anywhere, I can now be more in control of what I am doing. It’s been really wonderful.

So now I have a “Smart Phone“, that really is kind of overkill. Ultimately, all I really need is a Treo-like device that has a great screen, fast connection, and the qwerty keyboard, without all the extra OS stuff. As more web services become available, and allow for mobile access, we’ll not have a need for local storage of info, since it will be distributed globally via the Internet.

I’d love to hear how you use your phone. Click the title of this article to go to the comments page, and let me know.